Santana will be the Rangers' primary center fielder, at least early in the season, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. The team has been testing Nick Solak at the position this spring, and while he looks comfortable, Santana will get the majority of the work there for now. Santana started everywhere except pitcher and catcher last season, so the Rangers will be able to get him in the lineup as long as he's hitting well. Anything close to a repeat of last season's .283/.324/.534 line that was partly comprised of 28 homers and 21 steals will make him a very valuable player for Texas and fantasy owners; however, Santana hit just .219/.256/.319 over the previous four seasons combined, so a repeat can hardly be guaranteed.
Santana (calf) will start in center field and bat leadoff in Monday's Cactus League game against the Reds. Santana experienced cramping in his calf in his spring debut Friday, but he's apparently good to go after taking the past two days off to rest and recover. The fact that the Rangers are willing to use him in the outfield rather than as a designated hitter suggests the team isn't concerned about his health.
Santana downplayed the tightness he experienced in his left calf during Friday's spring opener as "just a cramp," T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports. Rangers manager Chris Woodward was optimistic when talking about Santana's activity over the weekend and plans to put him in the lineup Monday against the Reds. "He is pretty much doing everything," Woodward said. "As of right now, everything seems normal. He is jumping around and passing all the tests." Santana was scheduled to have the day off Saturday and was then held out as a precaution Sunday. He will have a significant role for Texas in 2020, likely as the primary center fielder unless Woodward prefers him in a utility role. The Rangers also plan to use infielder Nick Solak in center field -- he started there Sunday -- to see how he adapts to the position.
Santana was lifted from Friday's Cactus League opener against the Royals due to left calf tightness. The team labeled his removal as precautionary, but it's still a rough start to spring training for the 29-year-old. Santana started in center field and went 0-for-1 before exiting the game after the first frame. The injury appears minor, but he'll likely take things easy for a couple days before potentially returning to game action.
Santana agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with the Rangers on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports. This is his second of three arbitration-eligible seasons, and he gets a significant raise after a surprisingly productive 2019 season. Santana will enter camp as the team's starting center fielder.